iPhone 4 and the future of mobile video

I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to splurge for an iPhone 4 (because AT&T is horrendously bad, and I’m keeping a curious eye on Android), but regardless of whether I get one myself, I can’t help but be excited by the inclusion of iMovie on the iPhone, and what this likely means for the future of mobile video publishing in general.

I was pumped when i first heard about the iMovie video-editing app, but it wasn’t until I saw this how-to article on Mashable that it really hit home how significant this is. From the looks of it, editing video with this application is super-easy, with an interface even more simplified and intuitive than iMovie for the desktop.

iMovie for iPhone screen shot

Now you can shoot, edit and upload video from your phone. Image courtesy of Mashable

Initial estimates put iPhone 4 sales at 1.5 million units in the first day. While the accuracy of those numbers is debatable, it’s true that iPhones tend to sell extraordinarily well, and as a result, the iPhone has a tendency to set the bar in terms of smart phone functionality. Meanwhile, we have Android slowly creeping up on iPhone’s market share, setting the stage for what is sure to be an epic, competitive battle that can only improve each company’s offerings with every blow. Hopefully we’ll see prices drop too.

So what does this have to do with mobile video publishing? According to Gizmodo, 23% of U.S. mobile customers are now carrying smart phones. As that number continues to climb and features like HD video shooting and editing become the norm, it’s not hard to imagine a day in the not-to-distant future when most of us are walking around with HD video production and publishing studios in our pockets. Indeed, like the iPhone, Android already has basic video-editing apps available, and there are bound to be more.

Undoubtedly, this will lead to more garbage on YouTube. But it will also make it easier for people to tell stories, document their lives and communities and in some cases, expose corruption and abuse.

Like today’s citizen journalism, much of it will require editorial intervention and curation for it to be truly useful to society. But as we’ve seen with the Internet, mobile and social media already, providing the masses with the tools to create and distribute content has hugely significant — often disruptive — effects.

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